AABAT Committee Members

Regional Representatives

Anthi Emmanouil-Playne

Victorian Representative

Anthi’s affinity with nature was fostered early in the landscapes of Boonwurrung Country, Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria. Anthi’s infectious love of people and nature has led to her dedication of 20 years expertise through working with young people in the outdoors, youth work and mental health sectors; including therapeutic services to outdoor leaders specialising in self-care.

Jennifer Andrew

Tasmanian Representative

Jen is inspired by the opportunities intentional outdoor experiences offer people dealing with adversity. Time in nature and connection with others is a powerful tool for fostering wellbeing.

Jocelyn Evans

Western Australian Representative

I feel blessed to live with my partner, on a beautiful bush block close to Margaret River on Wadandi Boodja. In 2002 I joined the internship program at Outward Bound Australia where I was first exposed to Outdoor Education and Experiential Learning. Since then I have loved my work as an Outdoor Educator in numerous organisations and schools.

Kate Gilson

Victorian Representative

I live in Bpangerang country, the beautiful King Valley, NE Victoria. I am at home in nature, an Outdoor Educator, Bush Adventure Therapist, with training in Family Therapy, and currently work as a group therapist in an AOD therapeutic community. I also have my own heart-business endeavour ‘Nature’s Counsel’ that offers nature connection, mindfulness practices and 1-1 counseling.

Ken Jones

South Australian Representative

Ken’s life-long interest in the local environment began early, when he was fortunate to join many family hunting and fishing trips along this coast, beach combing, gathering shellfish and bush tucker, researching Bush Medicines and growing a native fruit orchard. His work and volunteer career spans commercial fishing, its management, environmental building, habitat restoration, and field and bird surveys. Married with four active boys of his own, he is ever keen to inspire a strong sense of adventure with no fear of failure. From near Port MacDonnell, Ken now leads “Bush Adventures” sharing and guiding Educational excursions along the Lime-stone Coast.

Kym Gibson

Western Australian Representative

I am a mother of 2 young children and am passionate about providing opportunities for families to disconnect from their everyday lives, to reconnect with family and strengthen relationships, through Adventure Therapy, camp experiences.

Luke Mabb

Tasmanian Representative

Luke is a wakka wakka man, and currently as a Recreational Officer for Parks and Wildlife Tasmania. His relationship with nature began under the wings of his mother, aunty and grandmother, a woman born on Cherbourg Mission, who held strength and knowledge in her Aboriginal heritage.

Mike Coker

Queensland Representative

My professional interests lie in leadership and personal development. I use experiential learning through outdoor recreation to facilitate various outcomes unique to the individual or group. Central to my practice is participation by choice, adventure-based learning, contemporary leadership theory, emotional intelligence, bush adventure therapy and narrative practices. I take a strengths-based approach in my work to facilitate experiences that allow the participant to discover their own learning and application.

Rachel Duthie

Tasmanian Representative

Rachel currently sits on the committee of Dooloomai, and works in the field running trips for youth with Type 1 Diabetes. Her myriad of other jobs include running mental health workshops in secondary schools with Speak Up! Stay ChatTY, guiding hikes, and cooking feasts over a fire for large groups of people. 

Will Dobud

South Australian Representative

Will Dobud is a social worker and program director of True North Expeditions, Inc., a small private practice in Adelaide, South Australia. Will is also a researcher in the field of adventure therapy.

International Representatives

Ben Knowles

International Representative

Ben began work in the outdoor education field the late 90’s. Since then he has found himself traversing the fields of outdoor education, teaching, training, bush adventure therapy and clinical therapy.

Val Nicholls

International Representative

Dr Val Nicholls: PhD (Education) University of Wollongong; Bachelor Fine Arts (Hons) University of Tasmania; Licentiate of the College of Speech Therapist, University of London. Val currently works as an independent educator, consultant and practitioner of therapeutic nature and adventure based programs in Australia.

Office Bearers

Becky Harth

Chair

Becky has studied psychology and education, working in outdoor education for a number of years. She currently works with systems that support participant and staff wellbeing, collect digital feedback and manage risk.

Kalindi Brennan

Treasurer

Kalindi is an educator who loves working directly with young people. She has a passion for Sustainability, Environmental Education and Indigenous Cultural Integration; specialising in authentically embedding these cross-curriculum priorities through education and wider community engagement.

Mark Cartner

Deputy Chair

A sworn police officer since 1999, Mark has experienced the highs and lows of a career spent predominantly in the child abuse unit working around Cape York, Cairns and Bundaberg. In 2015 Mark changed to school based policing and commenced a crime prevention and child protection program based on training students to undertake expeditions, utilising skills he learnt both in his personal and professional life. Mark is the Deputy Chair of the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy. He has an excessive amount of hobbies and interests that revolve around surfing, fishing, camping, music, studying the law and reading.

Mel Vella

Secretary

Mel has worked in the youth work sector for 20 years, predominately alongside supporting vulnerable young people and communities.

Wayne Enright

Deputy Chair

With a background in Phys Ed & health counselling, Wayne has worked in the field of adventure-based experiential learning for over 25years and volunteers with Operation Flinders Foundation, helping young people at risk. Wayne is founding director of Free Spirit True North, an Adelaide-based organisation that specialises in leadership, team and personal development, wellness retreats and adventure journeys.

Past Committee Members

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Michael has over 20 years of experience in the outdoor industry. He has worked both locally and internationally instructing outdoor activities and managing programs. His focus in the last 14 years has been on the design and facilitation of programs with a therapeutic intention. He has worked with youth and adults with mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems, asylum seekers, youth bereaved by suicide and young people coming out of the justice system with intellectual disabilities and young people disengaged form school. His current role with Edmund Rice services provides him with the opportunity to work with the whole community in a fast growing intercultural area of Melbourne. Michael sits on the board of Outdoors Victoria, a peak body for the outdoor industry. He started a nature playgroup for his daughter that now meets weekly. Michael has a keen interest in bringing art into the outdoors and does this in his current workplace. Michael regularly embarks on personal journeys in nature for leisure, challenge and to just hang out with awesome folk that like dressing up as pirates.

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Tim spent his primary school years playing in the hills and valleys around Clonbinane, Victoria. During high school, he spent his spare time walking around the hills of his parents cropping, sheep and cattle farm in southern NSW. After working on a cattle station in the NT, travelling around Australia and doing various retail and labouring work, Tim studied outdoor recreation and began work as a freelance outdoor leader. When he met his wife and started a family, Tim began working in residential care in Wodonga, Victoria. In 2017, Tim won a grant to run an outdoor focused program to strengthen disengaged young peoples connection with their community and provide positive mentoring. Tim is passionate about the outdoors and his favourite activities are rock climbing, skiing and hiking. Tim has a wife and four kids and his current passion is getting them out and into nature.